A 51/2 hour standoff between a man wanted on an outstanding warrant and law enforcement authorities from three different agencies ended Monday afternoon when the man surrendered at a motel on Washington Road near Thomson.
Mike Ayers, special agent in-charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 7 Office in Thomson, identified the armed robbery suspect as 40-year-old Harold Randall McDaniels, who is believed to be from the Orangeburg County, South Carolina area.
McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall said his office received a call from authorities with the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Department indicating that Mr. McDaniels was staying in a room at Scottish Inns.
When deputies went there to arrest the suspect about 11 a.m., Mr. McDaniels indicated he had a gun and was not coming out, Sheriff Marshall said. The sheriff said he called in special agents with the GBI to help surround the motel room. Once Agent Ayers and Pat Morgan, assistant special agent of the local GBI office arrived, along with several other agents, the decision was made to call in the Richmond County Sheriff's Department SWAT team and a specially trained negotiator.
The negotiator of the SWAT team turned out to be Capt. Scott Peebles, who heads the Richmond County Sheriff's Department SWAT team and works in the Violent Crimes Section.
Capt. Peebles allowed Mr. McDaniels to talk with family members during the standoff, Sheriff Marshall said.
"We wanted this to end peacefully if at all possible," Agent Ayers said.
Authorities decided it best to wait him out, as opposed to forcing his room 111 door open and someone possibly getting hurt.
While waiting, authorities evacuated the motel of guests and closed the Arby's restaurant next door for precautionary measures, Sheriff Marshall said.
Once the SWAT team arrived, local deputies, as well as GBI special agents continued to watch the suspect's room, while Capt. Peebles continued his talks with Mr. McDaniels in hopes that he would eventually surrender.
About 3:45 p.m., Mr. McDaniels surrendered to authorities.
"We were just hoping it would turn out the way it did," Sheriff Marshall told reporters during a press conference after the dramatic standoff.
He had been staying at the motel for the past day and a half, Agent Ayers said. Prior to arriving there, he had been involved in a motorcycle wreck, which injured him. "He said he couldn't walk," Sheriff Marshall said after the suspect surrendered.
Mr. McDaniels was treated at the scene by personnel with the McDuffie County Emergency Medical Services and later taken in an ambulance to the emergency room of McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson for treatment of assorted injuries. About 6 p.m., he was transferred from the local hospital and jailed in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center.
It was known immediately if the suspect would fight extradition back across state lines to South Carolina.
Agent Ayers said District Attorney Dennis Sanders had been briefed about the standoff, but at this time the suspect faces no local charges.